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IP Address tool detects and displays the current IP address of your computer. This can be helpful to setup a computer with a network, for communications software or troubleshooting any Internet connection. Your ISP or IT help desk can ask you to use this tool when you have any problems with your IP address.
Let’s break down that phrase. The “IP” in “IP Address” is short for “Internet Protocol.” So the whole phrase broken down is “Internet Protocol Address.” You probably know what each of these words means (and can even confidently use them in a sentence), but put them together and maybe you’re not so sure. So let’s break it down:
You probably already have an idea of what the internet is. For most people, the internet is what can be browsed and viewed via a web browser. This understanding is good enough for an introductory explanation.
In the IT world, a protocol is a commonly understood method for digital communication. A protocol must abide by a set of rules or formatting that is understood by both the sender and receiver of digital data. For the purpose of the average web surfer, suffice it to say that the machine/computer/server sending your desired website information is using a protocol that your web browser understands. This is how you are able to view a coherent webpage complete with text, pictures and even video feeds.
As you might imagine, an address defines where something is.
So put all these words together, and you can at least have an idea of what an IP Address is: It’s a way for your browser to effectively find the website you are looking for.
Using IP addresses, online services, such as website hosting companies, can identify themselves and ultimately be found by whoever is looking for a specific website, or general computer location. Most of the times, when your visit a website, your request for that website’s content will bounce over a dozen or more different locations, which are at some level defined by an IP address.
Websites have a discreet IP address assigned to them, as we’ve learned above, but did you know that your computer also has an IP address? Using this IP Address, it is possible for online service such as search engines, retailers or in many cases government intelligence agencies (i.e. the NSA) to track your online activity. This makes some people nervous, so a way of hiding one’s IP Address was invented to prevent third party tracking of this sort.
It is possible to hide your IP address via any of a number of free online services. These services conceal your IP address, or surf the web by proxy, by allowing your requests to pass through third party servers before finally arriving at your personal computer.
To "surf the web by proxy" is to channel all your website requests through another server before it arrives at your PC (which may be at your house, or potentially anywhere if you are using a laptop). This is an attractive option for anyone who does not want their online activity tracked by their ISP, major search engines such as Google, or potentially even the government.
All that to say, if you are using this tool to look up an IP and you are, at the same time, using a web surfing proxy service, then you should not see your actual local computer IP address.
A dedicated IP address is one that is reserved for a specific purpose. A common reason to get a dedicated IP address is for shared hosting accounts that have an SSL Certificate installed. In this case, the shared hosting company requires the dedicated IP so that your website content can be effectively organized in coordination with your SSL Cert installation. In other words, you don't want every site on that shared server to be sharing the SSL key that you worked so hard to set up, you only want your own website content to be protected.
Having a dedicated IP address can be useful for debugging your website during any development stage because it allows you to view the contents of your work in progress without assigning your domain to it. For example, if your domain coolsite.com and your dedicated IP is 126.96.36.199, then you can view your website at http://188.8.131.52 as opposed to uploading viewing your site at http://coolsite.com where everyone else in the world can see it before it's done. before you finalize your changes and asign your customer facing domain to the website. NOTE: This may require some additional setup with your shared hosting company so that the IP address is effectively mapped to your hosting account's main / root / web content directory.